Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Faculty Governance and Shared Governance [revised 9/13]

[As the topic of faculty governance - more accurately, faculty participation in shared governance at the UA - is at present receiving the most comments - and the most constructive comments - we are re-posting at the top of the blog, with minor revisions, the original post dated 9/9/09.]

Reports that UA faculty governance is dead have been greatly exaggerated, and are premature - according to the Faculty Senate organizers of the "Faculty Governance Leadership Forum" held on September 9th.

Their message:

1) The President and Provost have failed to provide the “transparency” they promised in the most important aspects of implementing the Transformation process.

2) Faculty members present at the meeting were seriously upset about this.

3) Faculty Governance at the UA is not dead, nor even in hibernation; it just needs more support and participation among the faculty as a whole. Faculty must participate. If you don’t participate, don’t complain.

So, coming soon: a Faculty Senate poll of all the faculty, asking whether the faculty as a whole supports, or does not support, the way the President and the Provost have been conducting the Transformation Process.

Exact wording of the poll and the logistics of its implementation will be taken up by the Committee of Eleven in the Faculty Senate.

In the meantime, we will continue to consider comments from readers who write in response to the “core issues” that have defined this site since its inception (way back last month), provided the comments are written in accordance with our rules for civility and evidence.


  1. President Shelton sent out a message to the community today responding to many of the issues this blog has raised, and for that I commend him. However, his belated message is too late to rebuild any kind of faith in faculty governance or the administration.

    There are three points on which I believe Shelton is not being straight with us:

    He talks about the importance to the entire campus of protecting the science grants that the university brings to campus because those grants support the entire campus. Those grants DO NOT support the entire campus. They do not even pay for the scientists doing the work on the grants. None of the money they bring in touches the students in SBS, Humanities or Arts. Yet the tuition increases paid for by the students in SBS, COH and Arts will be used to "protect" science and engineering and other programs without many tuition-paying students. Shelton talks about the need to identify sources of revenue aside from tuition, but he discounts the tuition dollars that come in through COH, SBS and Arts has legitimate revenue produced by the colleges that do most of the teaching. That money from tuition should stay with SBS, COH and Arts just as the grant money from science stays within the science programs. The university claims that it is working on streaming revenue to follow tuition, but they are simply delaying because it would favor the colleges they are currently cutting.

    The second place where I find fault in Shelton's speech addresses his list of the administration's efforts to involve the community in these decisions. Anyone who has followed these events closely over the last few years knows that Shelton, Hay, and Burd--all scientists--are making all the decisions and shutting down any rebellion. The dean of COH was recently told by Meridith Hay that she had to get in line with the administration's view of which programs within COH would receive the biggest cuts or Meridith Hay would find someone who would tow the line. How is this shared governance as Shelton claims? And this is just one example of business as usual around here.

    The last point about Shelton's message involves his committment to undergraduate education. I am sorry but I do not see how this can be a genuince statement. Those units that do the most teaching on campus are being cut the most (robbing you of your tuition dollars). The UA just passed the 50% mark of relying on adjuncts to teach undergrads, and very recently the administration tried to take money from the over-stressed advising center that serves students with undeclared majors.

    If Shelton and Hay want to claim that there is faculty governance and if they want the trust of the community, they have to start being honest about their agenda and their methods

  2. I would like to make a comment about Shelton's emailed memo to the community, which I find to be an insult to my intelligence on several levels.

    I don't have the time to go through all my grievances and the ways in which what he said does nothing to heal the rupture of faculty governance at this place. I will just start with a few:

    The criteria for what programs should see bigger cuts is spurious at best and obviously concocted by the HAY/Shelton/Burd braintrust with the narrowest possible interpretation of what is valuable to the state of Arizona. We all know that scores of our undergraduates leave our campus without being able to read and write and think as it is. Now that instruction is under attack, the quality of their education will only get worse. Somehow the leadership does not think it is important to train the citizens of Arizona what the colleges of Arts, Humanities and SBS have to offer. The writing program in the English Department does not have the resources to adequately teach our children how to read and write, yet the university has the resources to give raises (yes, raises) to newly minted vice presidents and millions to support researchers and other nonteaching functions that come into being, it seems to me, for the sole purpose of building the careers of those who create them.

    Shelton wants to support programs that will improve the financial future of the State, but where will we be if our students cannot think, read and write? They are not going to learn how to do those things in classes of 1000 students. Hay calls those classrooms opportunities for "information delivery." How many faculty on this campus, especially those in SBS, COH, and Arts believe in the value of information delivery and what that phrase implies. We were consulted. Our opinions not required.

    At a dinner last eyar Meredith Hay turned to a young assistant professor in our department and said, "Why do you people have to talk in class about what you read?"

    The young assistant professor was dumbfounded--she had just arrived that fall to what she thought was a "World-Class" university.

    Students learn how to think by discussing what they have read. It's not a quaint idea soon to be replaced by a computer program. It has been an essential feature of academic life for over a thousand years. You can't tell that to HAY, SHELTON, and BURD because they are not listening.

  3. Meanwhile, "Administrative Salaries Drive Rise in Higher Education Price Index" reads the headline of a story in today's "Chronicle of Higher Education." (9/10/2009) "Administrative salaries rose by 5.4 percent, up from 5 percent a year earlier" And salaries for faculty members? "[R]ose 3.4 percent, down from the previous year's rate of 4.1 percent." Elsewhere on our site you'll find figures (I don't recall exactly where amidst all the clutter of our discontent) on the spectacular rise in administrative salary costs at the UA over the past few years... And adjuncts' salaries, and GAT stipends, who is looking out for them??

  4. As one of the organizers of the Faculty Forum today I feel it necessary to address some misconceptions in this blog.
    We called for this Forum to assess the breadth and depth of the dissatisfaction at the UA. I was surprised that only about 70 faculty members showed up. I was not surprised that they expressed concern about the way in which transformation and differential cuts have been both carried out and communicated. I agree with many of these concerns and said so today.
    But, to report that "the faculty is seriously upset" is simply inaccurate. When only 70 people show up they can hardly be said to be "the faculty". The idea of a poll is a good one, but one cannot presume the outcome. The whole point of having a poll is to find out what people are thinking. One can only hope that response rates will be sufficient so that the poll can truly be said to reflect faculty attitudes.
    The memo that went out today from the President and Provost offered more in the way of transparency than anything that has come before. Better late than never, but this is just a start, and one can hope that it represents a new understanding that decisions must be justified openly, and based on criteria we all care about.
    It is the faculty who must actively participate in defining what this great university should be all about. I agree that it cannot only be about "making money" or about educating students so they can earn more money. The importance of the humanities, fine arts and social sciences is obvious to all of us, and it cannot be left to our colleagues in these areas to make this case on their own. We all must defend the value of these parts of our community.
    To say that, however, does not mean that we can ignore the realities we face: massive declines in state support that can only partially be made up for with increased tuition and other revenue streams. We simply cannot continue with business as usual, insisting that we can do everything in the future that we have done in the past. This is a recipe for a descent into mediocrity or worse. There was strong support today, and there has been for many years, for differential cuts. What causes angst is the lack of transparency in the processes determining those cuts. And the apparent lack of effective faculty input.

    PART 1 -- see next post for continuation)

    Lynn Nadel

  5. Part 2 of Lynn Nadel's post:

    On the matter of commitment to undergraduate education: I firmly believe that the President and Provost are committed to it. The statement that "those units that do the most teaching on campus are being cut the most" is simply wrong. Here are the actual (provisional) numbers of the larger colleges (obtained from our data folks with the proviso that the final numbers may be slightly different) -- I assume that it is not just the scientists who care about data when making arguments:

    Total SCH generated in 2008-09:
    College of Fine Arts 53, 381
    College of Humanities 152,314
    College of SBS 137,875
    College of Science 199,996
    Eller College 98,174
    Engineering 43,122
    Agriculture 57,944
    Medicine 42,403
    Education 31,570

    What these data show is that many colleges shoulder large instructional burdens -- two of the Colleges that received the smallest cuts (Science and Eller) teach almost as much as the three Colleges that received the largest cuts (Humanities, Fine Arts and SBS) -- so it is simply not accurate to claim that "those who do the teaching were cut the most". In fact, since the total SCH for the entire campus was about 900,000, the two colleges receiving the smallest cuts generated about 1/3rd of all the SCH. One might argue that this shows a strong commitment to instruction - but I won't make that claim. I think the totality of these data support the view that instructional activity was not a deciding factor in the differential cut decisions, much as the memo claimed.

    This does not mean that we fully understand why the cuts were made as they were. But I hope that in moving this discussion forward we can rely on facts rather than anecdotes.

    I, and others in faculty governance, stand ready to argue the case for greater transparency amongst other things. We need and request the active engagement of all our colleagues and we hope the discussion will be reasoned and reasonable.

    Lynn Nadel, Chair, SPBAC

  6. I had suspected salaries had gotten out-of-whack but had no idea it was this bad:

  7. We thank Dr. Nadel for taking the time to inform our readers about his perceptions of the faculty forum yesterday. We share his hope that there is indeed more transparency from the administration as the UA moves forward in these difficult times.

    We do, however, want to challenge some of Dr. Nadel's conclusions about the forum yesterday. First, in terms of the attendance, Nadel comments that 80 faculty was too small a showing by a faculty who appears to be increasingly concerned about the direction of this university. What is not said is that Nadel was told at the meeting that many of those in attendance got word of the meeting only that day. We would recommend more and earlier communication about the scheduling of the next forum. Also, the forum was scheduled at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon, prime class time. One young faculty member was overheard later saying she would have loved to attend the forum, but she was teaching a class of 500 students at the time! Perhaps a forum scheduled later in the afternoon would allow more faculty to attend.

    Nadel also points out that the COS teaches more SCH than any other college on campus. What he does not say is that the COH and SBS teach large numbers of SCH (2nd and 3rd by Nadel's numbers) with far fewer faculty. In fact, by Nadel's numbers, the COH, SBS and Fine Arts teach 343,561 SCH between them. Therefore, more than 1/3 more students are suffering larger cuts by cutting these three colleges. Furthermore, these three colleges teach these credit hours with less faculty, so classes will be even larger now than classes in the COS. One might say that these colleges have already been giving the UA more bang for the buck and yet they are suffering from deeper cuts.

    None of this addresses the deeper moral problem that there are more students from diverse backgrounds, more students from lower income families, more students with special needs in the COH, SBS and Fine Arts and we are once again balancing the budget on the backs of students who need more, not less attention, help and interaction. This discussion is not just about numbers and it would be nice to know that this administration thought about that every once in awhile. We've seen little evidence that they do.

  8. Well said Evelyn, people from COS play with these numbers all the time... but we know that they have a larger teaching faculty and infraestructure... Bob's statements in the first post hit the nail in Shelton-Hay's message. Moreover, by accepting that funding for new initiatives came from cuts made to other units, the administration demonstrates its untiring commitment to the same old agenda that has run this university for many years, that we should be a science oriented institution... that is perhaps why many people are so cynical about this "process"... they know they don;t have a say despite the empty words of our leadership... but the fact is that MANY faculty members are very upset... finally, I find Nadel's alignment with the administration (to the degree that he supports their actions despite his call for more transparency) rather suspect giving the timing and the fact that he now belongs to COS... but I still remember his passionate positions and his strong calls for cooperation, faculty participation, dialogue and collaboration when he was part of SBS... he was a forceful faculty advocate... what happened to all of that Lynn?

  9. This is a good dialogue - the kind that we need. I agree that the number of SCHs by itself can be misleading. I am trying to get the data in a more usable form, such as SCH/$ spent on instruction in each college. Simply looking at the faculty FTE is also misleading because it doesn't take into account the temporary teaching funds that were supplied quite differentially to supplement faculty resources. I suspect that even with this taken into account we will find that Humanities (and perhaps SBS) faculty teach somewhat more and are paid somewhat less that Science faculty.

    But this is almost certainly the case everywhere in the country, so we are dealing with market forces, not just our own values. To me the deep question is the extent to which we can, and want to, counteract those market forces to help our colleagues in areas that are underpaid and overworked throughout the academy.

    Beyond this question, we have to maintain our focus on the pursuit of excellence, as well as diversity and access. Every one of our Colleges brings something important to the table, and every one of them strives to educate as well as discover.

    If differential cuts are allowed to "drive a wedge" between faculty in various colleges, we will have only ourselves to blame. Faculty in the sciences care as much about teaching as do faculty in other areas -- I say this as a member of a department that straddles these divisions. And faculty in the humanities, fine arts and social sciences care as much about scholarship and research as do faculty in the so-called hard sciences. Enough of these silly debates about who cares about one more than the other.

    What we all need to care about is excellence, each other, and the education we provide our students, both in the classroom and in the lab (or wherever one's scholarship, or performance is done).

    As to the attendance at the Forum -- we decided to call this event only last week, it was set at the only time available to the 5 of us, and it was advertised in the best way we knew how -- through the All Faculty ListServ. We intend on calling another soon, and we will try to find a better time slot, but there will always be some who can't attend.

    We need a respectful dialogue amongst colleagues focused on the tough issues that face us all. Defining our values, and making sure those values permeate the decisions that shape this institution, are not easy tasks, but are ones we cannot shy away from.

    Lynn Nadel

  10. Lynn Nadel writes: "To report that 'the faculty is seriously upset' is simply inaccurate. When only 70 people show up they can hardly be said to be 'the faculty'."
    OK, let's emend: The faculty present at the meeting were seriously upset.
    That's indisputable.
    And it's clear from the context that "the faculty present at the meeting" was the referent of the phrase "the faculty."
    Nadel's move here provides an excellent example of polemical (and, in this case, apologetic) sophistry: his assertion is literally true, but false with respect to the context in which the statement was made (the faculty present at the meeting).
    That should be clear to everyone.
    What's his point? Not to pre-judge the outcome of the poll.
    OK. But does this kind of twisting not ALSO pre-judge --and attempt to influence-- the outcome?
    Of course it does. And Nadel does not hesitate to defend the administration's case as being really the only viable option.
    Apparently he didn't hear us yesterday: It is NOT the only viable option. MANY alternate ways of dealing with the budget crises were spoken of yesterday. Why did Lynn Nadel not hear them?
    Robert Shelton knows this: At a certain point the Administration can say to the Legislature, No.
    The Administration can say "We have made all the cuts we can, without destroying activities, programs and functions of the University that are essential. We cannot cut further."
    That IS an option. Shelton said so himself, at the outset of this mess.
    "At a certain point" you JUST SAY NO.
    Have we gotten there? Is that point coming? Well, how would we know? How would we know when there's no "transparency" but sheets of obfuscation, and the Administration gets faculty arguing with EACH OTHER instead of LEADING us all, together, against cuts that are untenable.
    His job is to make that case. Our job is to help him, if he wants to make that case -- a case which HE SAID he would make.
    So to Lynn Nadel, who is an excellent colleague but who has bought into a bad plan, we say this: Join Us.

  11. This is addressed to Lynn Nadel. Several times yesterday you spoke of perception vs. reality. There’s a comment on the Wildcat story covering yesterday’s meeting (reference below*) that alludes to perception/reality of faculty senators working wih or working for the administration, and the takeaway is this: If I’m perceived as an apologist for the administration but I’m really not --in my heart I know I’m not-- then how do I account for that "perception" out there that I am? Something I said? The way I said it? Or should I blame it on misperceptions in the minds of unreasonable people?
    Fortunately, we do have a place –right here-- where you can clarify your position, after you've taken the time (sleep on it) to clarify it in your own mind.
    Where do you stand? How can you reconcile your avowed support for all the good things that you say (correctly) make this University great and then turn around in the next sentence and say, yeah but unfortunately we're going to have to cut a whole lot of those things – because that's reality.
    No. It’s a position, it’s not reality.
    You cannot simultaneously support and eliminate the things you say (and know) we need.
    You know that. So which is it?


  12. A few points in response to the last few posts. First, I reject the "us" vs "them" mentality that is implicit. I am a faculty member, but my commitment is to the institution and to the truth - wherever that leads. And I mean wherever.

    I also reject the politically naive supposition that we can "just say no". When the legislature cuts your budget by $140M in three years or thereabouts, exactly how does one say no? No, we will not cut our spending, even though we can't pay the bills anymore. Or what? Maybe I'm missing something here, but we do not have a choice in the matter. Either we raise more money (through tuition, fund-raising, etc), or we spend less. Or some combination of the two. We don't get to simply say no. The President can argue our case, and in fact I believe he deserves significant credit, as does our Governor, for minimizing the cuts to higher education. Believe it or not, if the legislature had its way things would be a lot worse.

    Several of the posts suggest to me that a portion of the faculty is in denial -- that they really think we can somehow continue to do everything we've been doing. This is simply not credible. To say that is not to be tool of anyone or anything, other than the truth as I see it.

    But, of course, even if one insists, as I do, that we must change, there are many ways we could change and many ways we could communicate about the ways we change. Here there is plenty of room for debate, and for significant improvement on the part of our leadership. I said so in the forum yesterday, I repeat it here, and I say it in meetings large and small with members of the administration.

    We need to think hard about how to preserve what is best about what we do, and what is central to the mission of the UA -- and educating a diverse student body is high on that list. And by educate I don't mean simply train them a vocation -- I mean educate them to lead a meaningful life, a life as an informed citizen able to make wise choices, and to enjoy all that our culture, and other cultures, offer.

    But its easy to spout platitudes - I can do it as well as the next person. The hard part is to figure out how to work with what we've got and make it better. How to deal with the national realities we cannot avoid. My last post raised what I think is a major issue, which I will restate here: it is a fact that everywhere in the academy some kinds of faculty earn more and teach less than others. We can know exactly what those "ratios" are in our peers. We can compare ourselves to our peers in this regard. We can decide, perhaps, that we want to mitigate some of these differences because we think they are unfair and they create a class system on our campus. But we cannot make believe that these differences don't exist, and we can't make believe that they have no influence on our ability to recruit and retain excellent faculty.

    I honestly state that I have no solutions to this deep problem, nor can I be sure that my colleagues are as willing to contribute to such "equalization" as I would be. But I'm willing to have the discussion, so long as it starts with what's real. The budget we get from the state is not a "position", as Michael states, it's a reality. The electric bills we have to pay are not a position. The salaries we are committed to are not a position. Decisions about which programs to invest in, and which not -- now those are positions, and such decisions have to be justified in an open and transparent way. That is where I stand, have stood, and will continue to stand.

    I ask my colleagues to join me in an open discussion where "us" vs "them" language is set aside, and where we try to honestly face the rather dire situation we are all in -- some perhaps more than others, but all of us to one extent or another.

  13. Finally, a REAL dialogue. I don't have to agree with Nadel to appreciate his willingness to speak out.

    When CAN we have another forum? Can we have them on a regular basis?

    So... we have the SCH numbers... Great start.

    How many FTE faculty do we have in those same colleges? How are the Temp teaching funds distributed? How about MORE budget transparency?

  14. Okay, you say there are alternative ways to deal with the state legislative budget cuts.

    Unfortunately, Shelton does not have the option to just say no.

    What alternatives do you propose? I'd certainly like to hear them?

  15. I would like to applaud Lyn for addressing many of our concerns. As a faculty member, I have enjoyed the discussions on this blog. I especially enjoyed the discussion of SCHs and FTEs and accounting for which units on campus do more teaching. I think it is truly sad that none of these discussions have really happened in the open, and I think that is a failure of the administration. It is clear that Meredith Hay is not a reasonable person, for instance, but I think most of the professionals on this campus are reasonable people who understand that the essence of what Shelton has said is true: we need differential cuts in order to survive and we cannot continue to be all things to all people. Of course, to be fair to MH, it is not easy to bring bad news to a ship of this size, and even less easy to implement changes that mean less for some units. But I could not image a worse public relations job in terms of communicating to the faculty. The faculty are fed the same PR lines that the press and the public get. That has created a culture of disrespect, and in such a culture no one wins.

    I think it would help a great deal if some of the points that Lyn made about the money--the grant money, the tuition money and the ftes used by each college--need to be explained to faculty in complete and nonpartisan terms. Those of us in the know know that there are a few ways to spin the numbers, and those of us in SBS, COH, and ARTS know that the people generating the numbers and spinning them are from the sciences. So of course there is distrust. How could there not be? The College of Science creates a lot of SCHs, student credit hours, for instance, but even if you factor in temporary hiring budget money, COH is far more efficient in terms of SCH as a function of FTEs. In those terms, COS should be getting the bigger cuts. There is another way of measuring things here: if COH does get hit with the proposed 7% cuts, we are talking about firing tenure-track faculty in some departments. Some units would essentially cease to exist. That's how close to the bone things are over there. So you are going to fire tenured faculty in the most efficient units where there is enormous student demand and use that money to hire faculty in research who will almost never teach? Or fire faculty in COH in order to save nonteaching staff in COS? Those people running the show--who are all from the sciences--do not seem to understand that after years and years of cuts there is nothing left over in COH and ARTS, nothing but the worst paid professors on campus trying to keep up with rising student demand. And nothing has been explained to them; they have been treated like children. Of course you have mutiny on your hands.

    This university became a great university-- a research I university--because previous presidents did things like take money from science research grants and give large chunks of that money to build up the library. I understand that we live in a different era, an era in many ways defined by the "tragedy of the commons," but we need better communication and governance that is shared not just between the faculty and the administration but between the science and professional units and the units of less obvious but arguably just as valuable disciplines.

  16. Data involving SCH can be viewed and understood in a number of different ways. There is more to SCH than a cursory review of the data reveals. Drilling down into the data we may find that some colleges do teach a substantial amount. Looking more closely at that college may reveal that certain departments within that college are producing more SCH than others; and, that within those departments, there are some professors who generate the largest number of SCH in that particular department, making it possible for others to engage in scholarship, research, creative achievements, and grantsmanship. In some cases units produce large numbers of SCH with fewer faculty than in other colleges. In some colleges the size of classes is determined by the way the subject matter is taught. The point here is that numbers alone do not tell the whole story. For example, this overemphasis on SCH does not begin to take into account the quality of instruction that is occurring. It may be true that some disciplines are more amenable to increasing the size of classes than others. But bigger is not necessarily better or desirable.

    For years now colleges have been required to increasingly subsidize the general education courses they must offer to accommodate growing enrollments. This has occurred while also experiencing on-going cuts to their budgets and loss of faculty and GATs. Some have suggested that one way to meet this increasing need for courses is to impose differential workloads, meaning that some faculty teach more courses than others. Yet in this climate that is unlikely to happen because of the overwhelming perception that the colleges that generate the most SCH in instruction are the ones who have received the largest cuts. This then translates into the belief that teaching is not valued by the central administration. Little wonder that professors who may be willing to teach more are discouraged from doing so because of differential cuts to colleges that teach more students. A further impediment to encouraging faculty to teach more courses is the culture that currently exists regarding instruction. In essence teaching more and better does not necessarily result in career progression or better salaries. If we create a system whereby faculty who teach more and provide the highest level of quality education will be eligible for more compensation, professional growth, and career advancement, then differential workloads will make sense.

    The bigger concern here about the numbers games involving SCH and differential cuts is the nefarious role they can play in sowing dissension among us. The stratagem of “divided and conquer” is an old one. However it can only prove effective if we allow it to be. Focusing on the “they” versus “us” in times of differential cuts can lead to divisions between and within colleges, departments, disciplines, and faculty. Let’s not fall prey to that tactic. Instead let’s stand united on the premise that an injury or injustice against one of us is an injury and injustice against all of us. Building on that premise, let us do everything in our power to have an administration that is both honest and competent. We, members of the University of Arizona community, deserve a central administration that will provide leadership that merits our trust and has earned our support. Anything less is unacceptable.

    Juan R. García

  17. Dear Juan, I want to thank you for your thoughtful response, and I agree with you on many fronts, but I find that some of what you say falls into the easier said than done file. But first, I would like to thank you for expanding the discussion on SCHs and FTEs, etc. What you say is true: there is no incentive for faculty to teach more and little sense that teaching is valued. So many faculty are so underpaid that they do not welcome the idea of more teaching for the same low pay. They are totally demoralized. If you told people that they would get eight thousand dollars more for teaching an additional course, then you would have droves of people signing up. Going on year whatever without a raise, people need the money! It is also true that some things can be taught in large classes while other skills --like writing and thinking -- cannot be taught in large classes. Everyone who teaches writing and critical thinking knows this to be true. So it is hard to factor that into the SCH, FTE number debate.

    To your other point: I believe we are already divided as a faculty, and I believe there is a class system at the university (the haves and have nots) and that those in the arts and humanities are very much in the ghetto. This really isn't just a perception; it is reality. The university talks about strong and weak programs as if they were animals in the wild. The university creates strong and weak programs by either investing or divesting in them and by using the Foundation to direct funding away or toward certain projects. We all know there are winners and losers in this game, and the losers are COH, ARTS, and now SBS it seems. Okay, that's the reality and we can get used to it. But that doesn't mean the leadership has to use the methods they have been using to accomplish their goals. And the process does not seem thought out in detail. The deans are meant to make differential cuts within the colleges in order to protect their quality units, but in many cases the deans cannot make differential cuts to weaker units without firing tenure-track faculty. They will have to cut in the stronger units in order to avoid firing the tenure-track faculty and opening up that door.

    I agree that we need to unite behind the quest for excellent leadership, but when I look at the current leadership (at the few people we know are making all the decisions here) I only see people from the science and the professional schools. The actual leadership (people who actually play a part in decisions) should be made up of people from COH and ARTS and SBS. At the very least central leadership should demonstrate an understanding of the value of those disciplines.

    But I agree: we do not need a climate of "they" vs "us" at a time like this. I have many friends in the research sciences. I love what they do and I know they have been hit hard by cuts for years. If we had a balanced and communicative leadership, I think we would come together, realize we are all in the same boat, and move forward to make hard decisions. We all know differential cuts are necessary. But we do not have a climate of coming together to make hard decisions. We have a lot of rumor, resentment, suspicion, fear and an overwhelming sense of helplessness--a sense that about three people we do not trust are deciding the fate of the university and our lives. It is not a good feeling.

    Warmly, Professor Fred (obviously not my real name)

  18. That forum was interesting. However, the folks on stage talked more than they listened. After hearing that I should get more involved for about the 20th time, I left. For the next one, put a timer on the mic. If you can't say it in one minute, sit back and listen to others.

  19. Can someone please post the numbers of FTE of each college alongside the numbers of SCHs taught and budget? I know that this isn't quite a perfect way to gauge relative teaching/$ but it might be a start (see Nadel's comment above).

    I remember seeing these numbers once, and the difference is staggering. COS may teach the same number of SCHs, but they do so with about 3 times the number of employees and 3 times the budget (as I remember). I understand that the science research requries more lab workers and money--but the point is that the other colleges provide a tremendous value to the university, one that COS cannot provide, and one that we need to preserve alongside the sciences.

    So please, we need numbers to prove that the non-science colleges teach more with less (and that's a good thing and we shouldn't be punished for it).

  20. Open Letter to the Campus Community,

    I have only felt comfortable behind the scenes in the past, but I am now convinced of the necessity of speaking out. This comment will seem deeply personal, and it is. But I hope that by sharing my story, I can convince others to do the same. I also hope that by explaining my background, no one will feel deceived. However, if I do not speak out, how can I ask my fellow students and staff colleagues to do the same? I write today as the daughter of Juan Garcia, a community member, a student and a staff member.

    After receiving President Shelton and Provost Hay's memo regarding the transformation process 9/9/09 it has become clear that the sciences appear to create a profit. It is also clear that this university is now about profit. If the Humanities want to struggle along, they won't stop you, but don't expect their support. Your subjects can be taught in classes of 1000.

    As a student in anthropology, this seriously concerns me. I am incensed that my peers are paying more tuition then ever before to support only the sciences?! As my father has been constantly and famously quoted, "What! Are you kidding me?" How dare you Shelton and Hay. How dare you allow my faculty mentors to teach many of the General Education courses in on this campus and cut then their funding. How dare you insult my intelligence by triumphantly putting out 3D memos boldly proclaiming you've secured funding for a few scholars a year in the social sciences, when we all know we've lost that same amount of scholars several times over. How can this administration tout the importance of interdisciplinary studies in the publication on the "transformation" process when they so short change the Humanities? How can they ignore the science that drives our archeology labs, our library school, our linguistics department...and so many more? Is this administration so devoid of intellectual curiosity that they fail to see the thin line between the so-called hard and soft sciences?

    As a community member I see two outsiders who have spent precious little time getting to know anything in this community except the UA budget. The administration sees cash in and cash out, but fails to see the importance of what a university is supposed to be...In the 9/9/09 memo, the administration clearly sees students as cash cows. This state is a harsh environment...the desert around us can be unforgiving. It takes more then mere practicality to etch a living out here. In an address to the university, Shelton himself once marveled at the gall of the residents who established this university...this place was created in the middle of the desert, before Arizona was even a state. And yet it survived. The desert is an unforgiving landscape...sometimes you have to be sustained by spirit alone.

    It is agreed that we are facing some very difficult budget constraints, but this is not the administration to lead us in these tough fiscal times. An administration who fearfully requires police presence for peaceful meetings with students and community leaders who merely wish to express their concerns with diversity issues; and again for student political groups (and then charges them for the cost of off duty police,); an administration who has just now come clean about the standards by which the cuts are being applied, an administration who inspires calls for no confidence votes; an administration who purposefully creates an atmosphere of paranoia on campus is not the kind of visionary leadership we need. So please, faculty, students, staff, stand up and say it, "No Robert, No Meredith, that's not how it's done."

  21. Staff is the most vulnerable and has suffered the most in this "transformation" process. They have none of the protections of tenured faculty and are, therefore, understandably afraid to speak out. We thank Ms. Watt for speaking out by name. It was a brave act. Can some of our tenured fulls do the same?

  22. To Lynn Nadel:
    Hi Lynn, it's Michael here. You say it's naive --but this was Shelton's own position (yes, it's a POSITION) earlier on-- that it's naive for others of us now (and I suspect there are more of us than you think), to say that the President of the University of Arizona can say to the Legislature, at a certain point, "I'm sorry, we cannot cut any more."
    Maybe someone else can explain to you better than I can (and I invite them to do so), why the President's response to a budget allocation is NOT a reality but a position -- taking a position. Budgets are ALWAYS negotiated. I can't believe you compared the UA budget allocation to an electric bill ("you have no choice, you just have to pay it."). Of course you don't negotiate with Tucson Electric Power, but you DO -- you MUST -- negotiate with the powers "that be" (temporarily) in the legislature. And effective negotiation includes, for a president, acknowledging that you can get to a point where you cannot make further cuts without shutting down the University. Or having it shut down by the faculty, staff and students.
    Not a threat. It's a reality. And also a position.
    Universities have been shut down by student-faculty protest for less. I know you know that. Universities have been shut down due to improvident actions of legislators; and then opened back up, stronger than before.
    There ARE solutions out there. Jan Brewer knows that. She's not afraid to use the t-word (I know what you're thinking, but just let me finish): Which do you think Arizona lawmakers would prefer: a fraction of a penny tax increase (oh, I went and said it), or seeing the University of Arizona shut down, and having to deal with that.
    Maybe you're thinking: "It can't happen here." Or maybe that's not what you're thinking, because that would be naive. It CAN happen here, in this climate, in this community, with this faculty, with this student body. And if you truly believe, as you say you do --and I believe you-- that all of us are essentially on the same side here, then maybe it's time to recognize that it CAN happen here -- but it need not happen. Most of us hope it won't happen. There may still be time. But we need better direction. Good leaders know how to manage in both directions, up as well as down.

  23. Hi Michael,

    Perhaps I was less clear than I meant to be. We cannot negotiate with the legislature in the way you suggest. We can try our best to convince them -- and I think President Shelton probably did exactly that, at least with the Governor, this year. Once the budget is determined by the political process we have to figure out how to live within it. We can indeed say no in the sense that we can try to limit the number of classes, but such actions harm the very students we are here to serve. The kinds of actions you are calling for are political ones that carry major implications. Do you really think its a good idea to threaten to close down the university if we don't get what we want?

    As for politics, the university cannot by state law publicly lobby for a change in our state leadership - but its obvious that such a change is going to be needed if state support for education at all levels is ever to improve. Thats for us to work on as private citizens.

    At this point we need strong and effective leadership. I don't pretend we have had it in the past. I'm trying my best to see to it that we have it in the future.

    Lynn Nadel

  24. Lynn, I find your response entirely satisfactory, and I thank you for it.
    Regarding political action (strikes, protests, teach-ins), I know there are some among us who think it's irresponsible to even speak of such things. And there may be some who think it would be salutary. I'm in-between. I think we can get through this mess without the destructiveness of public upheaval. But only if we say, first, that if the administration can't fix it, we can. By "we" I mean the faculty, or one or two from among the faculty who, like yourself, know how to listen, and correct course when necessary, as you have done over the past few days. One or two from among the faculty, who could step in if someone steps down. Or if they both step down. One or two with the vision and temperament, the knowledge and experience, and the mettle to stand firm against some while not trampling others - and above all the wisdom and judgment to know which is which, whom to protect and whom to confront firmly.
    This brings me back to the idea of responsible and irresponsible. For all the rest of us (we the faculty), irresponsible means, in my view, saying nothing, doing nothing, when you see your University taken apart, by bad management, and torn apart, by the "wedge driven into the Universitas" as someone put it at the meeting last Wednesday. Doing nothing to resist that is irresponsible. Responsible means the obligation that all of us have to uphold, protect and defend the University. Defend it against being mismanaged, dismantled, or "transformed" into something not foreseen in the Transformation Plan, and which would be something other than a University, in the sense of "universitas" that so many people writing in over the past few days have evoked, people writing in from different colleges all over the campus - you know what a University is, what our University is, and you don't want it transformed if to transform means to dismantle or to denature a Research I university that you can be proud of. Responsible means defending your University, which may be why the people who created this blog named it "UA Defender."

  25. You're quite right, Michael. That is exactly why we named it "UA Defender." And we're gratified to see that the blog is fulfilling its mission, moving away from some of the factious acrimony we saw last week, and moving together now toward unity, confidence, and resolve. Readers can still disagree with HOW to defend the UA, but anyone wishing to argue against that mission may do so elsewhere.

  26. I completely agree with what Michael and Evelyn have said. I think there is something else that needs to be said here, and it relates to the question of how one approaches the sins of the past.

    In my view our former President is responsible for creating an atmosphere at the UA in which no one was able to speak up, and in which, too frequently, people were put in high positions who would just agree with him or say nothing. I said something of this sort to our new President within months of his arrival. His attitude (much like Obama I might point out) was that he intended to move forward, rather than look backward. I respected his view - it reflects the character of a man I truly admire.

    But I think he was wrong. I think if you want to move forward with accountability you must also look backward with accountability. Not because one wants to rehash or punish but because one must understand the past to avoid repeating it - hardly a new observation on my part, but frequently ignored.

    For years many at the UA did nothing to prevent a petty tyrant from mis-leading this institution. We are still paying the price for this, not least of which is that we lost the habit of speaking up and speaking out. Some of us tried to regain that voice even before the change in leadership, and I'm happy to see that even more are speaking out now.

    Our task is to channel this energy in ways that actually defend the UA and all that it stands for. We desperately need to get past personality issues and focus on what our values are, and how we can defend them.

    For my part I intend on speaking out, and using the position I currently have to insist on transparency, and clear justifications for decisions -- I believe in looking at the data, and that's what I'm going to do. And to the extent possible (and legal) I'm going to insist that those data are made public.

    Lynn Nadel

  27. I agree with Lynn Nadel's position on data. The unfortunate part of this process is that data appear to have played a minimal role. I think there might have been ways to make differential cuts based on measurable and public criteria; we might have disagreed about the criteria but we would have known what was going on. Instead, while there are a number of criteria listed in the President/Provost's memo, the ultimate decision making can't be traced back to anything measured. It's unfortunate, but probably the only way that the administration could protect their pet programs.

    My main fear right now is that the college-level decision making will work similarly. Anybody got any ideas for how we pressure our deans to be a little more public, transparent, accountable...? The upper administration hasn't exactly established a gold standard for them to follow.

  28. We need to be thinking now, and planning now, for an orderly transition to new leadership after the present leadership is gone. We need to think carefully about what exactly we expect from our next president and provost, and what will be the best ways to ensure for them the support and guidance they will need to move forward without faltering. To that end, our faculty leaders might begin with these two questions:
    1) If Meredith Hay steps down, do we want Robert Shelton, under the terms of the shared governance agreement, to serve out all, or a portion, of his term in consultation with an advisory committee from the Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents?
    2) If both Meredith Hay and Robert Shelton step down, should the Faculty Senate put forward a proposal for an interim president and an interim provost to serve in consultation with an advisory committee from the Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents?
    We know from what we heard last Wednesday at the Faculty Governance Leadership Forum, that the collective experience, wisdom, vision, and managerial skills of those in attendance that day and others on our campus equally well equipped, will be more than adequate to the task of framing and refining these two questions. We trust that informal discussions are already underway. The budget challenges we face are serious. They are not insurmountable. They will require a course correction as regards priorities and the most orderly and efficient way to define and maintain them. From within our ranks and in accordance with established procedures and Arizona law, we have the expertise, the commitment, and the wherewithal to do that. The more important question is how best to do so, in the most smooth and orderly fashion.

  29. Susan (from the faculty)September 13, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    I agree with Richard: a smooth, stable transition, without "public upheaval" (as Michael put it) is achievable, and necessary. We're not there yet, of course. But when we do get there, the better prepared we are, the better it will be for everyone. And I do mean everyone.
    This is a time for renewal. As Marv Waterstone reminded us last week, there are only two truly essential parts of a University: the faculty and the students. All the rest is infrastructure and superstructure, that exist - or should exist - only to make sure the faculty and the students can do their work. Can do their work together. And can do it well. Working together as closely as possible, not as far away from each other as possible.
    Administration is ancillary. They exist only to minister to the needs of the faculty and the students - that's the origin, the etymology, of the root (administer 'minister to') of the word administration. Too many of us - administrators especially - have forgotten that.
    I am by no means trying to suggest that the President's job or the Provost's job is an easy one. And I am truly, truly sorry that President Shelton foundered on the obstacles, huge obstacles, that were in his path. But with great responsibility comes accountability that must be in the same proportion. The greater the responsibility, the more closely it must be monitored. If we regret Robert Shelton's missteps, we must none the less thank him sincerely for the good things he accomplished, while recognizing that his shortcomings can be chalked up to an excess of zeal, an excess of self-reliance, in a time of crisis and urgency.

  30. I agree with everything in Richard's comment except one word. In question #1, "If Meredith Hay steps down..." change the word "if" to "when."

  31. I must respectfully disagree with the last few posts. It is simply not reasonable to imagine that university administrators would be nothing more than functionaries -- traffic cops so to speak. What academic worth his or her salt would be willing to do such a job? And surely we want these jobs done by academics.

    A good or great administrator brings at least three talents to the task: a general vision of what the university could or should be, the skill to engage the faculty in a way that creates consensus on specific goals, and the personality that embraces transparency and trust-building so that as many of the universities citizens (faculty, students, and staff) are willing to work together to achieve these goals.

    And lest we forget, this is only the inside part of the job, the one typically carried out mainly by the chief academic officer. The outside part of the job, dealing with all the constituencies a modern university must deal with (eg., legislators, regents, the private sector, the broader public, alumni and other sources of giving), is also part of the job, typically on the President's plate.

    Any wonder these are amongst the hardest jobs going? It isn't likely that anyone with these kinds of capabilities is going to be willing to "administer" in the way the previous posts suggest.

    The next time we seek leaders, whenever that might be, we need to be realistic about what is actually called for. I also feel it necessary to say that in my view we are not near that point at the moment. We have other options open to us to make things better.

    Lynn Nadel

  32. Lynn, could you please try to make your point without trivializing the arguments you disagree with? First you reduced what Michael said about budget allocations to "arguing with an electric bill" (patently absurd), and now you reduce Susan's point (that administrators are there to administer, not to revise the University's purpose and mission) to treating the president like a "traffic cop." She did no such thing. In your comment you speak of the desirable "skill to engage the faculty in a way that creates consensus on specific goals..." yes, please do!

  33. Dear Lynn, I think Shelton is doing fine with the wider community, but as someone who knows, I would say that the provost MH does not have any of the leadership qualities you outline above:

    "A good or great administrator brings at least three talents to the task: a general vision of what the university could or should be, the skill to engage the faculty in a way that creates consensus on specific goals, and the personality that embraces transparency and trust-building so that as many of the universities citizens (faculty, students, and staff) are willing to work together to achieve these goals."

    This is not our provost.

    After an attempted no confidence vote last year, she has had a lot of time to make changes. She has not. If we ask her to continue with the qualities you mention above, we are asking her to be a person she is not and use skills she clearly does not have.

    So I want to know why our faculty leadership thinks it is a good idea that she continue, when it seems obvious to most of us that she needs to leave as soon as possible. Obviously, it will be difficult to move her out, but the consequences of continuing with her seem worse.

    It is not just a rhetorical question for me to ask why you think we should protect the status quo with MH. What good could come of keeping a person who is divisive, disrespectful, bullying and narrow-minded?

  34. Fair enough. I tend to state my positions strongly, I admit. I'll try harder in the future not to trivialize -- which I'm really not trying to do -- you can blame my (poor?) taste for rhetorical flair. But I don't back off my assertion that university administrators cannot be expected to "administer" in the way the previous posts described. We need administrators with a well-articulated vision in my view, one we can then help shape and get behind.

    It's clear you disagree with how I made my points, and I accept that, but what do you think about the substance of those points?

    Lynn Nadel

  35. And speaking of "trivialization" -- the use of the phrase "death panels" in another thread on this site seems to fit the bill. How about speaking out against that terminology. It poisons this increasingly useful dialogue.

    Lynn Nadel

  36. Numbers (from IIW PROFILES FY2008) from Fall 2008

    (I'm just comparing Humanities with Science for sake of legibility)

    TOTAL SCH (Student Credit Hours)
    Humanities: 142,752
    Science: 168,467

    Humanities: 32,138,150
    Science: 242,242,685

    TOTAL FTE (Full Time Employees)
    Humanities: 483.6
    Science: 1,759.8

    $/SCH (how much it cost to teach 1 student credit hour in Fall of 2008)
    Humanities: $225
    Science $1,427

    Now, I understand the data here doesn't take into account the lab costs, equipment costs, special pet programs etc. that the sciences require. But I think it is suggestive that the Humanities are teaching WAY more per dollar than the Sciences.

    This is why we're making such a big stink about the differential cuts affecting value to the state students. Shouldn't the sciences subsidize the humanities and not the other way around? Why cut from the most teaching efficient (in a dollar sense) college on campus?

  37. Before it goes too far -- the data just posted are wildly misleading, as they are based on Total expenditures. This includes all the funds spent from research grants and contracts, which could not LEGALLY be spent on instruction. The same goes for Total FTE - this includes all the people paid from those grants and contracts.

    I have no doubt that the cost of teaching in Humanities is less than it is in Science, but the ratio is nothing like these numbers suggest. If we are going to use data we have to try to use data that are meaningful.

    That is why I am trying to get the data that will tell us how we compare to national norms in the differences between humanities and sciences for example. If we are just like everyone else in how we pay our faculty differentially, and in how they teach differentially, then we have one kind of problem. If we are unlike our peers in specific cases we need to know why -- we're better (or worse), it's more or less important to us, etc.

    But we need the right kind of data to ask and answer these questions.

    Lynn Nadel

  38. If I may put in a word regarding the exchange between Lynn and Melissa: I believe Susan's point about "administrators" was simple and clear: it was not to say they are "nothing," but that they are "not everything" as regards decision-making at the University. Many people believe Shelton and Hay have assumed the role of being everything (or close) in decision-making on too many issues. If that perception is wrong, show us how it's wrong. More important, if it's right, let's focus seriously on confronting that together and not waste precious time arguing among ourselves on wording.

  39. True Story.
    Spring 2009. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Gail Burd comes to a faculty meeting in a non-science department. Topic: the department's weak and precarious position at the UA. Someone asks: Why "weak and precarious"? We have strong and impressive rankings nationally, by standard measures for assessing program quality.
    Gail Burd replies: Maybe those national standards need to be changed.
    Someone responds: Are you saying the UA should lead the way? Isn't our state's educational ranking second from the bottom nationally?
    Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Gail Burd smiles.
    Stunned silence in the room. No one smiles back.
    True story.

  40. Much of the discussion on this thread pales in the light of what just came in (9/14 around noon) and bumped us down from top-of-the-page. The EBH team will be deploying different members of our group to try to keep up with the flow (i.e. moderate comments) in each of the related threads of this forum as traffic picks up. As ADOT says, "Expect Delays."

  41. Part 1...long response...

    The points I see are lack of transparency, decision making on the fly, decision making without numbers, without good information, and without real deliberation. I would also suggest what appears to be politically motivated decisions on the differential cuts.

    The decisions about differentials were not made with the numbers that Lynn seeks...he is still seeking them...the President and Provost never looked at numbers when making these decisions. The fact that the rationale for the cuts really only came last week, and after much griping, is telling. Plenty of time to backtrack and plenty of time to damage control after the mistakes were already made

    The 7% differentials passed on to SBS, COH, COA, are bothersome for a number of reasons:

    1. The most critical is this. The 7% differentials were passed without considering the units within them, which is the critical critcial mistake in this entire decison. They did not consider their rankings, their fit to the strategic plan, what they provide for their budgets, what they provide to service, research, and teaching. 7% differentials passed to the entire college, no matter how you slice it, WILL adversely harm excellent programs in these colleges, that fit the strategic plan, and so on and so forth. Those getting 2% (while that still hurts are spared...and so are programs that are not CORE within them).

    That level of cut cannot spare good programs, even if done differentially within the college. The entire college and all of its units bleed together...with respect to administration, infrastructure, and the decision by a Dean to have to essentially divest from a program. Those colleges getting 2% did not have to make those types of decisions...even if they had programs that did not fit the strategic plan or that weren't functioning well, etc.

    3. The most galling thing of all is what this looks like. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. This was as much a political decision as it was a decision about how to make the "right" cuts. The result has turned program against program, faculty unit against faculty unit, college against college. I would suggest that this outcome was not lost on our leadership and it may have been done by design. If I am wrong about this, then all that is left is incompetence.

    Our leadership knew that they were giving differentially smaller cuts to powerful programs on campus that will not stand against them. They knew that the number of units and faculty in them would not stand up against them when others suffered. The others left that get sacked don't have enough political power to stop them. The deans that got 7% cuts (and I respect each one massively) looked relatively less powerful to them also (two interims and one newly appointed). Not saying that they are not fantastic and competent Deans, but they are in a precarious position to fight if their jobs are on the line, or if they want to be anything other than interim. They also lack the power on campus to do what someone like Gene Sander can do to the leadership politically.

  42. Part two of long response...

    Finally, the leadership gets to argue that the 7% cuts are differential within the college and pass this heat on to these new Deans. They can argue with a straight face that any pain inflicted was the Dean's decision, not theirs. They not only cut these Deans colleges, but also sold them out and threw them to the wolves.

    The point EVERYONE must make and make clearly is this.

    The differential cuts were made without a good rationale or without homework. Every rational advanced has been poor or has come late. It was a critical and tough decision. Those decisions, any scientist knows, should be made with DATA.

    We cannot do the same things we have done in the past but that necessitates looking at the unit level, not the college level. You broadside good programs and are simply generalizing that ALL programs in COH, SBS, or COA are equally weaker and not CORE. A poor message to send if nothing else.

    Passing cuts of that magnitude to colleges hurts ALL units within matter how differentially a Dean might be able to pass them one.

    These cuts differentially hurt strong strong programs. These cuts hurt programs that are directly mentioned in the strategic plan. These cuts hurt core parts of our university.

    Lynn is right, and I agree, differential cuts should be made, but at the unit level. SPBAC communicated this and communicated that they wanted to see a process. That process is yet to appear and it is completely unacceptable.

    Critical decisions about the future of our university should be made with thought, information, deliberation, and with some REAL campus participation.

    These cuts and their justification fit none of these criteria.

  43. Okay, let's run the numbers again, this time omitting the Grants & Contracts expenditures. We'll leave off FTE for now.

    EXPENDITURES F08 (Total less Grants and Contracts)

    Humanities: 31,123,231
    Science: 131,711,534

    $ per credit hour:

    Humanities: $218
    Science: $782

    Are these numbers more accurate then? To teach a credit hour in the sciences costs well over 3 times as much (if these numbers are correct) than in the humanities.

    This is not to protest the difference in salary/teaching--we all understand that the sciences cost a lot of money, much more than the humanities. The point is that Dr. Nadel provided SCH numbers to substantiate the point that: "it is simply not accurate to claim that 'those who do the teaching were cut the most.'" But what the $/SCH number is meant to show is that those who teach the most efficiently were cut the most. And probably, as a consequence, what is affected most by the differential cuts is teaching.

    If with the differential cuts, we implemented a "tuition-follows-credit hour" model, maybe there would be less resistance. As it is, the "teaching colleges" feel their resources sucked up by the productive sciences, but get nothing, except more punishing cuts, in return.

    And, on a more rhetorical note, if you are going to say that it is in the nature of the market that sciences cost more, on one hand, then you cannot turn around and punish the humanities for not bringing in more grant dollars. No humanities college to my knowledge (or SBS, or Fine Arts college) brings in the kind of external dollars that the sciences do, and that is in the nature of the market as well. To validate the differential cuts by holding up the other colleges to the college of science in terms of income, but then holding up the sciences to peer institutions in terms of expenditures, appears to be a double standard.

  44. It is as important to get out of Shelton's leadership as it is MH. Shelton has allowed Hay to cause years of damage to this institution. Such a man has no business as a university president.

  45. Earlier Lynn commented that we have no control over the legislature. I think it is about time the UA and the other universities in our state began seriously looking at ways to legally challenge the legislature. I also believe that students, faculty and staff ought to organize in a big way against cuts. We can't just send messages to the leadership of Arizona, we have to be proactive in the political process.

  46. On the point above, I couldnt agree more. There is talk of a Association of Faculties PAC being formed. There is also the Solution for Higher Education Project. So there are efforts that are starting.

    But there are other ways. As a faculty, we need to organize and support candidates running against those who sit in our legislature. First we must educate our colleagues on races and challengers that need support. Most dont realize that Al Melvin and Vic Williams (two who have done little but attack us) barely won their seats in a district which is in our own region!!!

    We must donate to candidates and support them and do this in an organized fashion and collectively. Find districts that are vulnerable and donate to that candidate whether you are in the district or not.

    What we have to get across is that we will actively work against anyone who takes our institution for granted. I want people to think twice before they vote or attack us.

  47. We do not know, and we cannot ask, who made the long, two-part comment above (4 or so above this one). The arguments are solid, they are informed, they are compelling. And the message is inescapable. We are gratified to see the purpose of this forum being served so well. Next, please?

  48. I made the long two parter...and sorry I am not yet brave enough to post my name. There are a lot of people counting on me to not screw up the hard work that my colleagues do every day. I so want to write more though. My experiences this past year have taught me more than I ever imagined about leadership. I am going to be a Dean one day or maybe a college President. I will never forget my experiences here.

  49. Dear Friends,
    This Friday a group of UA faculty, staff, and students will meet at
    the fountain in front of Old Main to discuss a day of action against
    the budget cuts enacted by the state legislature (through Meredith
    Hay), in solidarity with the faculty, staff and students of the UC
    system, who are staging a walkout to occur on September 24th.
    This meeting will take place on Friday, September 18th, at 2 pm on the
    fountain at Old Main on the UA campus.
    To read a bit about our position on the budget cuts, please read on.
    For more info on the UC action:

    At the University of Arizona we are facing the most dramatic budget
    cuts and restructuring of the University in a generation. These cuts
    will affect every aspect of the University system – from the quality
    of education available to students, to the conditions of our labor as
    researchers, teachers, administrators and staff.

    The administration is pursuing a strategy designed to weaken our
    capacity for collective action, our ability to protect our interests
    and participate in the budget and restructuring process.

    In some departments, Graduate Teaching Assistants, already working for
    poverty wages, have seen their salaries slashed. In others, course
    loads have been expanded overnight, with little explanation and no
    accountability. Faculty have been furloughed in a way that minimizes
    disruption to teaching, and maximizes the possibility that they will
    continue working without pay. Hiring freezes and layoffs are
    undermining the integrity and functioning of departments and spreading
    work around to already over-burdened faculty and staff. And the
    decisions about whose budget is cut, by how much and why have been
    anything but transparent and accountable, let alone "participatory".
    All of this while new fees and "tuition surcharges" reduce access to
    and affordability of higher education, redistributing the burden of
    budget shortfalls onto the backs of students.

    The UA budget has been cut as much as possible under the current
 package. If it is cut any more, we will lose our stimulus
    funding. The 2010 state budget will not include any stimulus money,
    and state
 revenues are already coming in under projection. We will
    have no protection from further dramatic cuts after this fiscal year.

    By subjecting the budgetary restructuring to an arbitrary and
    subjective process whose impact is felt differentially, we remain
    divided and pitted against each other, rather than capable of uniting
    around our common interests. As long as we remain divided in our
    individual colleges and departments we will have no power or voice as
    our colleagues lose their jobs, as the conditions of our labor and the
    quality of our institution deteriorates, and as the legislature and
    administration continue to pull the rug out from under our feet.

    For these reasons, we invite graduate assistants, faculty and staff to
    a meeting on Friday September 18 at 2pm on the fountain in front of
    Old Main organize an action in solidarity with the faculty, staff and
    students of the UC system.

    The following are ideas for possible demands:

    -No (zero) layoffs

    -No furloughs or pay cuts on salaries below $40,000 (including GTAs)

    -Graduated furloughs and pay cuts campus-wide

    -Reduced work for reduced pay (furloughs cannot be assigned for "non-teaching

    days" only).

    -Full disclosure of the budget

    -Equal budget cuts across campus

  50. A large showing at this event would likely make the mainstream news, which would begin to get word out to the general community about the goings on at the UA. That kind of coverage will be necessary to further weaken Shelton and Hay. Another demand we suggest: the resignation of Shelton and Hay.

  51. There is much here that I agree with. I understand the need for many of the posters to remain anonymous. I've already been a Dean (Interim its true) and I'm never going to be a President, but I too will never forget my experiences here.

    Let me speak first to the issue of the relative costs of teaching in different colleges. I'm not sure if the amended figures just posted are correct but let's assume for the moment that they are. My guess is that it costs more to deliver an SCH in Science than in Humanities for at least 2 reasons: salary differentials and teaching load differentials, both of which favor Science. It remains true, however, that we have to compare the ratio mentioned for UA to comparable ratios elsewhere amongst our peers. Only if ours is more out of whack than our peers do we have a major issue of the UA mistreating its faculty. Now, one could argue that we should sail a bit into the wind, and work at least somewhat against the national "facts". I would be happy to see us do that -- but there is no question that we cannot just ignore the market.

    So, I hope to get some data on our peers in these domains within a week, and perhaps then we can truly understand.

    Should these data have been accessed earlier - yes! But please bear in mind that even with these data there are still judgment calls to make.

    I also agree that the tuition revenue generating capacities of colleges that cannot readily generate grants have not been given their due in this process. I do not understand why. My approach on this point has been to put a lot of effort into trying to make sure that the tuition funds flow process, which is supposed to be the mechanism that puts the dollars where the teaching is, is created in the right way, with the right formulae. Otherwise nothing will change. But here too there are judgment calls to make.

    Finally, I completely agree that we MUST be politically active. Unless the political culture in this state, and in particular its attitude toward higher education, is changed, our goose is cooked. At least as regards funding from the state. Then we will become even more dependent on other sources of funding, and even more inclined to differentially reward those who can get money in other ways. While it is true that tuition revenues can be a source, its important to remember that we go down this road only at great cost to students, and to our ideals about access and diversity. We are at present spending over $100M a year in financial aid to students -- this too is one of our value statements, one that I believe puts the lie to assertions that our leaders do not care about our educational mission. But we can only go so far in this direction. We need a more sympathetic political process, and that is something we can only do as private citizens.

    Finally, whether differential cuts should have been directed at units within Colleges instead of at Colleges themselves. I can see the point, but please try to imagine what kind of hue and cry there would have been if the President and Provost had made those kinds of micro-managing decisions themselves. That's a non-starter, and they said so from the beginning. An alternative might be to do across-the-board cuts at the College level and insist they do differentials within Colleges. BUT THIS IS EXACTLY THE STRATEGY THAT HAS NOT WORKED FOR THE PAST DECADE.

    What we have now is differentials across Colleges and a command for differentials within Colleges too. I'm not going to defend the actual differentials, or the specific numbers, but I do believe that this is the best general strategy.

    I will speak to other issues about leadership, etc., in the other thread that is active at the moment. I sure would like to know how many people are participating in this useful discussion. Seems like a handful at the moment.

    Lynn Nadel

  52. Whoa Nellie. Concerted action is a great idea, but events have already moved on. The President announced recently that there will be no furloughs at all this year, so that wipes out 3 of the 6 demands. To demand no layoffs is implausible -- you cannot suffer a $100M+ budget cut in 3 years and have zero layoffs.

    There is strong sentiment on this campus for differential cuts - equal budget cuts have been tried and found wanting. Don't waste your energy defending something that most of us reject.

    Finally - full disclosure of the budget -- absolutely! I've been arguing for this for some time. But, the budget is a very complex beast - this is a $1.5 or so BILLION dollar enterprise. Be careful what you ask for - I've looked at the budgets for years and don't fully understand them. What we need is a reasonable level of detail that lets us know the categories in which money is being put, and what that tells us about values and commitment to our mission. We don't need and wouldn't understand a line by line budget. I'd like to say trust me on this, but maybe that's asking too much.

    Point is -- collective action by all means. Support our UC colleagues too. But ask for things at the UA that really would make a difference.

    Lynn Nadel

  53. Count me in, but the furloughs have been erased? Someone should tell someone that, I would hope.

  54. I am not sure that there is as much support for differential cuts, and particularly the way they were planned and done, as Lynn thinks.

    With all due respect to Lynn...but there is a portion of our faculty leadership, mainly in science, that has long believed that. And there are great differences in opinion among the faculty leadership about how those differentials should be done.

    I think the overarching issue here is not even the differentials. It was how they were planned, how they were implemented, and the lack of care that they were announced.

    With greater respect, whenever we bring up transparency and trust and things like implementation, there is no real defense.

    Those, I think, are the most critical issues...process, accountability, trust, transparency, and fairness...ALL OF WHICH...have been time and time again...ignored.

    That is enough for me to believe in a change of leadership. I know enough to know that the approach of continually trying to work with them, does not work. AND you cannot believe a word that is said.

  55. Lynn is correct, the furloughs have been erased. It came in an email from the President and it was something that was floated through SPBAC for awhile.

    What this tells me, however, is that communication is not so good. The fact that a group was mobilizing to protest and that they did not know about the furloughs can be looked upon as their fault, but it is also the fault of the administration and communications department for not doing a better job getting successes across to our campus.

    I guess we should say what we say to our your emails, but something like use of the stimulus to erase furloughs is something that deserved a press release on campus and a major communication beyond an email. It might have built some good will too.

  56. Until we poll the faculty, we cannot know for certain how many support the principle of differential cuts. My impression, both from my discussions with many colleagues, and from the Faculty Forum, was that it goes well beyond the sciences. Across-the-board cuts have weakened all parts of the UA, and it seems to me that there is broad consensus around the idea that we have to make some real choices.

    That being the case, and I think it is, the question as rightly pointed out, has to do with how those choices are made, how they are communicated and how they are implemented. I think the record here is mixed, but mostly not very good.

    On the making of the choices -- the past decades have made it clear that leaving this entirely in the hands of the units themselves doesn't work. We have largely proven ourselves incapable of doing it at the unit level, though there are some exceptions. What one can hope for is a principled and open process, based on informed input, and clearly stated criteria. We didn't quite get that.

    On the communicating of choices: here the record is simply awful. I don't know how to explain it. I do know that there are some things that really cannot and should not be stated publicly. And I also think that leadership acquires the ability to keep some things quiet by building a lot of trust at the outset -- the political capital that good leaders earn and then spend. This is not what happened here, and a heavy price is being paid for that. Some people think that the less said the better. I'm not amongst them, nor is history on their side. Can our leaders get better at this or is it too late, or simply not in their make-up? I don't know.

    On the implementation of choices: here the record is also mixed. There are some changes that have been wrought at the UA by this leadership that have been really well done -- things happening at the AHSC for example; and the much-needed MOSAIC project. And the Admissions process, and many others. The Transformation Process really was bottom-up, and lots of good things resulted. Changes that should have happened years ago. Was it perfect - absolutely not. Will it garner the savings that were advertised? Almost certainly not. But was it done in a reasonable way with lots of input from the affected faculty - in my view it was.

    But then we get to the differential cuts. Lots of room for improvement here, to put it mildly.

    We do need an open, accountable process that is based on criteria we as a university community have agreed to. We need leaders we can trust who inspire both confidence and enthusiasm. I don't think these things have been simply ignored - matters are more nuanced than that over the years since President Shelton arrived. An economic crisis erupted shortly after Provost Hay came to the UA, and even though I strongly support the view that real, differential, changes have to be made, in too many cases these changes have not been handled well. I reject the view that "you cannot believe a word that is said". That in my view is painting the situation with much too broad a brush.

    Lynn Nadel

  57. Comparisons of differentials across peer universities is indeed a good idea. But a scientist would get the dimensionality of the problem right. A key question is how differentials (across universities, between science and non-science departments)in amount of faculty hiring track differentials in department quality. How many peer institutions have (essentially or exactly) *zero* faculty hiring across the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts? I disagree with L. Nadel, referencing differentials in pay and teaching load between science and non-science departments, that "the deep question is the extent to which we can, and want to, counteract those market forces to help our colleagues in areas that are underpaid and overworked throughout the academy." The latter was taken as a deep question by Marie Antoinette.

  58. Touche. And with Madame LaFarge's knitting needles to boot.

    Perhaps I was insufficiently transparent.

    First you gather the relevant data - in this case the differentials at our peers.

    Second you ask whether we differ from our peers.

    If yes - you ask why -- is it quality, is it our mission, etc.

    If no - you ask whether we want to choose to differ because we value some things (eg., arts or science, or whatever), more than our peers.

    Maybe this isn't a deep question, but it is one worth asking.

    As for comparing our current hiring patterns with our peers -- this is just a snapshot. The UA has gained 52 faculty in the past 10 years or thereabouts. If I remember the data correctly, more of that increase has been in SBS than in other colleges. Does this prove that for te past 10 years we have favored SBS?

    Looking at one slice in time, or at just one kind of data, is not a credible way of proceeding, in my opinion.

    Lynn Nadel

  59. Housekeeping again(Evelyn with her broom): May we ask that you direct your attention now to the new thread (Deck Chairs...) unless you have a comment that specifically engages the topic of this one.
    When the volume of comments responding to a particular post reaches 40, 50 or more (we're pushing 60 on this one), readers (and site administrators!) tend to "lose the thread" as the comments spill over onto other issues.